Category Archives: Famous

You Are Descended From Who?

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How many of you have been searching for an ancestor on Ancestry.com and you get a match in someone else’s family tree? You then click on their “Matching Person (from Family Trees)” link and up comes their “facts” page. Here you can see what information they have on your shared ancestor. I have been able to garner a lot of useful data from these. I have even on occasion found family photos and documentation in the Gallery section. I then, usually, click on the members’ name and go to their profile page to see if we have any more relatives in common.

This is where it can get interesting. As long as they do not have their trees set on private you can browse through page after page of their “recently added findings”. The further back in time that your common ancestor lived, the more unrelated info you have to go through. But sometimes, in all that digging you find a gem! Some crucial document that can help you fill in some of those empty spots in your tree.

Yesterday I found one of those gems. I was so excited I decided it was worth looking

knights templar

more closely at this person’s “findings”. I soon came across some things that made me a little concerned. According to her tree, the woman was related to Lady Godiva, King James (all of them), Doretha Queen of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, 4 of the Knights Templars, Mary Queen of Scots, Robin Hood, King Francois of France, and the list goes on. I am not saying that she couldn’t have been related to one or more of them but there was no documentation or references at all. The one that really threw me though was her claim to be a descendant of King David (from the Bible) through his son Jonathan.

The reason I wanted to write about this incident was to take the opportunity to discuss the topic of credibility. Every person who is trying to construct a legitimate family history should strive for accuracy and provide as much documentation or sources as possible. I have a couple of ancestors who are my “brick walls”. When I find possible leads, I sometimes add that name to my tree so I can find it and continue researching. However, I make notes that this person has not been verified as part of my lineage and should not be added to anyone’s tree until it has been.

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Although I did find one good document in this woman’s common ancestor file, it made me concerned about the accuracy of it because of her listing her other “Ancestors”. Her credibility had been called into question.

The moral of this story is: “Always verify any information that you obtain from anyone else’s tree and always make sure your own data is correct when you add your findings to your own trees”. No tree is 100% perfect, but we should make every attempt to not add anything that can’t be proven.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Credibility, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, Hints, History, Research, Source Citations, Uncategorized

The Good Side of Bad

close up of teenage girl

A couple of years ago I was sharing some of my exciting Genealogy findings with my then 10-year-old Grandson. He was excited to discover that President Zachary Taylor was a distant cousin. He listened intently to the stores of our Ancestors who helped to establish Jamestown. Then I told him that we were cousins with the infamous outlaw, John Wesley Hardin. That is when he got a stern look on his face and said, “What’s so good about that?”

I started thinking about his statement this morning and realized that there really is a good side of the “bad” characters we find in our lineage. Let’s be honest, our family trees would be boring if we didn’t have a few bad seeds in it. They bring colorful tales to our stories and even some lessons.

One such story is about my 9th Grand Aunt Sarah (Hood) Bassett. She was born in 1657 insalem witch trials sign Lynn Massachusetts.  She married William Basset in 1675. In May of 1692, Sarah along with her sister Elizabeth and Sister-in-law Elizabeth were arrested on the charge of practicing witchcraft. All three were transported to Salem which was about 5 miles away. They were carried there by a wagon that had bars on it to prevent escape. All three women were tried and convicted and were sent to prison in Boston.  Sarah was accompanied by her 22-month-old son Joseph and she was allowed to keep him with her. She was released in December 1692. Not long after the ordeal was over, Sarah gave birth to a daughter whom she named Deliverance as an ode to her freedom.

PilloryAnother story is from my 9th Great Grandfather Thomas Garnett. He was born in Kirby Lonsdale, Lancashire, England, December 15, 1595. He was brought to Virginia in 1609 as an Indentured Servant by Captain William Powell. Indentured Servants were basically slaves and had to serve for at least 10 years to earn their freedom. William Powell was a mean master and he abused all of his “servants”. It is said that he was also a drunk. In 1619 Thomas complained to the Governor of Virginia about his master’s behavior to which William brought charges against him for disloyalty. This Petition by William Powell to the General Assembly caused the Governor himself to give this sentence upon Thomas Garnett “that the said defendant should stand four days with his ears nailed to the Pillory” that is to say from Wednesday, August 4th and for likewise Thursday, Friday and Saturday next following…and every of those four days should be publicly whipped.” [Journal of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619, page 12].

To me, regardless of the circumstances that each of these ancestors found themselves in, feel that these accounts bring some “Flavor” to my Family History. I actually find myself spending more time in research and writing about the ancestors that were “unique”!

What type of stories do you have in your Family Tree?

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com:   http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, History, Jamestown Colony, John Wesley Hardin, Massachuettes, Research, Salem Witch Trials, Sarah Hood Bassett, Thomas Garnett, Uncategorized, Virginia

10 More Facts About Cemeteries

whisperingMy husband and I had dinner with some good friends the other night. They know about my obsession with all things Genealogy so the talk quickly turned to their search for ancestors. During the conversation, I whispered to my friend “I love visiting cemeteries, especially old ones”. I wasn’t sure how she would respond as most people think it is creepy to do this. Her face lit up and said, “Me too!”. The next hour was devoted to “Cemetery” talk. Ancestor Hunters have no problem discussing this topic so in honor of that, here are 10 interesting facts about cemeteries.

♦ Located on Route 80, near Tombstone, Arizona, the Boot Hill Graveyard became the Tombstone-Boot_Hill_Graveyard-Graves_of_Billy_Clanton,_and_Frank_and_Tom_McLaury_2final resting place to over 250 gunslingers, miners, and other fearless wild west pioneers. Humorous headstones are scattered over the hill. Those like “Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake 1882. He was right we were wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone.” and “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les No more.”

♦ What is the difference between a cemetery & a graveyard? Graveyards are in the “yards” of churches and is always adjacent to and part of a church.

♦ Arlington is the only national cemetery to hold servicemen from every war in U.S. history. Although the first military burial at Arlington National Cemetery didn’t occur until 1864, the burial ground holds the remains of those who fought in every war since the Revolution. In 1892, soldiers killed in the Revolutionary War were re-interred from a Georgetown cemetery, and casualties from the War of 1812 have been reburied at Arlington as well.

♦ In 1876 a handful of mobsters botched a morbid plan to kidnap the body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it ransom. The hapless grave robbers were arrested just a few days later. Fearing another attempt, the government secretly hid the body of the sixteenth president in an unmarked grave for 25 years. Then in 1901, under the urging of Robert Lincoln, the president’s only surviving child, Lincoln’s body was dug up and placed inside a steel cage, lowered into a 10-foot-deep vault, and buried under tons of concrete. He’s still there today, in his tomb, on the grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Hollywood forever cemetery♦ Cemetery tours are now big business. One such cemetery, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood California has maps to the Star’s graves available for tourists. This is also an old cemetery – established in 1899, and filled with tall, old-fashioned headstones and towering monuments, including a few unusual ones shaped like obelisks and a rocket ship. Many tour companies in Los Angeles offer tours of the many “celebrity” graveyards in the area.

♦ Family (or private) cemeteries were a matter of practicality during the settlement of America. If a town or religious cemetery had not been established, settlers would seek out a small plot of land, usually in wooded areas bordering their fields, to begin a family plot. Sometimes, several families would arrange to bury their dead together. While some of these sites later grew into true cemeteries, many were forgotten after a family moved away or died out. Therefore, some of our ancestors’ graves from the 1600’s may never be found.

♦ Visitors to loved ones interred in Jewish cemeteries often leave a small stone on the top of the headstone. There are prayers said at the grave site, and the stone is left on the visitor’s departure. It is done as a show of respect; as a rule, flowers are not placed at Jewish graves. Flowers are fleeting; the symbol inherent in the use of a stone is to show that the love, honor, memories, and soul of the loved one are eternal.

♦ Columbarian walls are a common feature of many cemeteries, reflecting the increasingColumbarium walls use of cremation rather than burial. While cremated remains can be kept at home by families in urns or scattered in some significant or attractive place, neither of these approaches allows for a long-lasting commemorative plaque to honor the dead nor provide a place for the wider circle of friends and family to come to  mourn or visit. Many cemeteries now provide walls (typically of  brick or rendered brick construction) with a rectangular array of niches, with each niche being big enough to accommodate a person’s cremated remains. Columbarium walls are a very space-efficient use of land in a cemetery compared with burials and a niche in a columbarium wall is a much cheaper alternative to a burial plot. A small plaque) can be affixed across the front of each niche and is generally included as part of the price of a niche.

♦ Stamps Cemetery (Witches Cemetery), Tennessee. This cemetery is old, unconventional, creepy, located around backwoods and less popular. The tombstones are lined in Zig-zag pattern and some of those stones are marked with pentagrams. It is believed that that cemetery belongs to dark witches. There are lots of eyewitness who saw strange appearance around the area

♦ Meaning of symbols on Headstones:

  • Arch: Rejoined with partner in Heaven
  • Book: Faith, wisdom
  • Peacock: Eternal life
  • Tree trunk: The beauty of life
  • Crossed swords: Life lost in battle
  • Garland: Victory over death
  • Anchor: Steadfast hope

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Cemetery, Death, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Funerals, Genealogy, Graves, History, Research, Uncategorized

“Hot Topic” Genealogy

HottopicsIt is always amazing to see how much society has changed in the last few hundred years. What is the “norm” for today was taboo a century ago and what was accepted 200 years ago seems unimaginable today. Throughout history there has always been a “Hot Topic” in each generation. Topics such as the Suffrage Movement, Religious Freedoms, Slavery, Prohibition, Wars etc. Today we are hard pressed to find out how our ancestors felt about these issues or if any of them actively supported or opposed them. Unless our ancestor was “famous” for their stand we may never know.

We can make assumptions on some of their beliefs by how they lived. Take for instance civil war battlesthe Civil War. If your ancestor fought for the North, you can assume they were anti-slavery and if they fought for the South they were pro-slavery. Also if they owned slaves you can assume that they believed in it and if they didn’t they were opposed. Some of the “topics” were not so obvious.

If we are lucky we can find membership information, letters, affiliations or other documents that can provide a glimpse into our ancestors’ stance on the issues of their day. However, most of us will never find these gems. We are left wondering if they had any opinion at all. This brings us to our own time in the genealogical timeline.  We have so many “Hot Topics” today that in a hundred years our future generations will wonder where we stood and why.

New scans15I am of the belief that I want to leave as much information for our future generations as possible. Not only about our ancestral line but also of the times in which we live. I have started writing about some of my beliefs, my stands on social issues and any participation’s I have had for or against those issues. To be quite honest I have picketed for one issue and I have picketed against another. I have participated in rallies and marches. I have appeared on local and National television, radio programs, been a Conference Speaker and featured in magazines and newspapers as an expert on one issue. I want my Great Grand-kids to know their Great Grandma held strong opinions on certain subjects and she wasn’t afraid to let others know how she felt. I am trying to be fair and explain both sides of the issues and express why I chose the side I did.

 

What “Hot Topics” do you have an opinion or belief on? Have you gotten involved fighting for or against that Topic? Think about leaving your experiences behind for those coming after you.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, Hints, History, Hot Topic, How-to, Memories, Next Generation, Personal Stories, Story telling, Uncategorized, Write Your Story

Please Define Famous

FamousIn our search for our Ancestors we always experience that excited anticipation of possibly discovering that one famous person in our lineage. Finding someone who accomplished some great feat or invented something used by millions or who became President or who was an outlaw can bring color and excitement to our trees. When you gather together with other Genealogists you would now have something interesting to tell. Talking with family about these persons may peak their interest in their own history and of those who came before them.  I just wonder, How do we define “Famous”?

Webster’s dictionary defines it this way “known or recognized by very many people: having fame”.

In today’s society the term fame or being famous is applied to anyone who can get themselves in front of a TV camera, or across the internet regardless of the reason. Most are just famous for being famous, really not earning the “title” by doing anything worthwhile.  So I just wonder by what standard we measure those we deem famous in our own families.

Colby Rucker sign

To me, my 4th Great Grandfather Colby Rucker who fought in the Revolutionary war should be called famous. He volunteered to fight at the age of 17, defying his father in doing so and even after he was captured and imprisoned by the British, upon his escape he returned to fight till the end of the war. I JamestownFortconsider my 9th Great Grandfather  William Powell famous because he came to America, Jamestown Virginia to be exact, in 1609. He survived the massacre of 1622 but was killed in 1623. Regardless of how some may feel about what happened once immigrants came and forcibly took over this country, he was still brave to come to this strange land, far from all he knew. I believe my 4th Great Grandmother, Permelia Loving Permelia Loving Allen 2Allen was famous. At the age of 66 she became a widow, after 47 years of marriage.  4 years later after her husband’s estate was settled at the age of 70 she personally lead a group of settlers from Cole County Missouri to Tarrant County Texas. Included in this group were 8 of her 10 children and their families. She was one of the first women to own land in this county and she donated land for the Mount Gilead Baptist Church to be built. This remarkable woman witnessed the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War and she died in her 92nd year.

These ordinary people who did extraordinary things are more “famous” in my eyes than some of the other “famous” people in my trees.  These are the stories I want to tell, the ones I am most proud of. Maybe we should rethink our definition of “Famous”. My new definition would be: “Those ordinary individuals, who through their own convictions succeeded to accomplish remarkable things that very few others are aware of”.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available at Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Famous, Genealogy, Jamestown Colony, Revolutionary War, Texas